Gift Guide

15 unforgettable experience gifts to give in NYC

Picture: Lukas Schulze, with the permission of Monet’s Garden The Immersive Experience.
Photograph: Lukas Schulze, courtesy of Monet’s Garden The Immersive Experience

Impress your friends and family with unique experience presents in New York City, such as helicopter flights, salt caverns, and exclusive guided visits.

15 unforgettable experience gifts to give in NYC

Sometimes, generic gifts just won’t do for someone who seemingly has it all. Instead of opting for themed socks or scented candles, why not consider gifting them an unforgettable experience that can only be found in the vibrant city of New York? Giving an experience is not only more thoughtful and meaningful, but it also caters to the unique interests of your loved ones. For example, you could surprise your history enthusiast dad with a tour that grants exclusive access to the top attractions in New York, or treat your art-loving best friend to tickets for the new Fotografiska museum. Even better, why not join them and create lasting memories together? And if you simply can’t resist the allure of traditional gift-giving, you can always find a few small surprises to fill their stockings.

SUGGESTED: Top Christmas activities to experience in New York

15 best experience gifts in NYC

1. A ride in a bespoke motorcycle sidecar

Cruising through the urban landscape on a motorcycle sidecar may evoke images of classic mobster films or the iconic ’60s Batman TV show. However, now you have the extraordinary opportunity to treat your special someone to an unforgettable adventure with these remarkable contraptions. Dapper Tours, a homegrown touring service, offers expertly guided excursions of Gotham City aboard a charmingly antiquated sidecar. The star of the show is none other than a vintage Ural motorcycle, a model steeped in a captivating history of Russian reverse-engineering during the 1940s. It doesn’t get much more impressive than that!

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2. A beer tasting at Talea Beer Co.

Immerse yourself in the vibrant world of Talea Beer Co., An exceptional brewery and taproom in the heart of NYC, owned and nurtured by remarkable women. This holiday season, indulge in a captivating array of beer tastings that will leave you awestruck. Delight your senses with the exquisite combination of beer and cheese, or embark on a harmonious journey of yoga and beermosa. Alternatively, explore the captivating brewery through an enchanting tour and savor the delights of a beer tasting. With a plethora of options to choose from, starting at a mere $30, pamper your inner hopshead and create unforgettable memories.

3. A trippy art experience at ARTECHOUSE

Immerse yourself right in the heart of ARTECHOUSE’s latest festive art extravaganza, known as “Spectacular Factory: The Holiday Multiverse.” Prepare to be enchanted if you have a deep affinity for all things related to Christmas. Brace yourself for a mind-boggling journey through a whimsical multiverse of holiday villages, where you can twirl around on a mesmerizing candy cane carousel, intimately encounter a myriad of nutcrackers, drift among colossal swinging jingle bells, and even embark on a train ride amidst enchanting holiday wreaths. It’s like a turbocharged holiday celebration that will leave you awe-inspired. Secure your tickets for this extraordinary experience right away.

4. Tickets to the new City Winery

Explore the vast expanse of City Winery’s magnificent 32,000-square-foot sanctuary nestled within the enchanting Pier 57 of Hudson River Park, where panoramic vistas of the waterfront embrace you. Indulge in the opulence of their extensive wine selection, boasting an impressive repertoire of over 1,200 unique bottles sourced from 20 diverse nations. Immerse yourself in the anticipation of discovering extraordinary talents gracing the stage during the captivating winter season; consult their schedule for an unforgettable experience.

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5. Cooking classes

Looking to assist a friend or family member in their culinary endeavors while they remain at home? Elevate their cooking abilities with a captivating course offered by The Institute of Culinary Education Classes. The art of Knife Skills will equip them with the necessary techniques to expertly mince, julienne, and chop with utmost precision. Alternatively, they can explore their passion for dumplings through an immersive virtual dumpling-making class.

Beginning at $25 per individual.

7. New York Helicopter Tour: City Lights Skyline Experience

Experience the city of New York like never before, even if you’re a true-blue New Yorker. Embark on an exhilarating helicopter ride after sunset and witness the magnificent skyline from a whole new perspective. Marvel at the beauty of iconic landmarks such as the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, and the Chrysler Building as they sparkle and shine in all their majestic splendor. To conclude the flight, enjoy a thrilling loop around the Statue of Liberty, a moment that will ignite your New York City pride to the fullest.

Starting at $274 per individual

8. Edge Observation Deck and Climb

If you’re not afraid of heights, bring them to the highest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere. Edge extends 65 feet into the sky and sits 1,100 feet above ground, making it the tallest public balcony in NYC. Not only does the deck provide breathtaking views of the city’s skyline, but it also offers a thrilling perspective from below. For those seeking an even more exhilarating experience, Edge provides an opportunity to scale the side of the building and hang over the edge (with the support of safety harnesses, of course). Afterward, unwind and celebrate your courage at the bar and restaurant named Peak, located on the 101st floor.

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The Edge Observation Deck and Climb is a thrilling experience that offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, allowing visitors to appreciate the beauty of the area from a unique vantage point.

9. Holiday Cocoa Cruise

Classic Harbor Line offers a delightful selection of holiday cruises, allowing guests to experience the city in a stylish and festive manner. The motor yachts are adorned with enchanting holiday decorations and lights, creating a truly magical atmosphere. As an added bonus, each guest will receive a complimentary beverage of their choice. Indulge in the excitement of our new cruises such as the Cocoa and Carols holiday cruise (priced at $86-$96 per adult) or the Holiday Brunch Cruise (priced at $124-$142 per adult). Alternatively, you can opt for one of our beloved classics: the NYC Lights and Cocoa Cruise (priced at $86-$96 per adult, lasting 1.5 hours), the Sunset & Holiday Cocoa Cruise (priced at $86-$96 per adult, lasting 1.5 hours), or the Holiday Live Jazz Cruise (priced at $96-$124 per adult, lasting 1.5 hours).

It also offers breathtaking New Year’s Eve cruises in case you would like to astonish them with a luxurious evening!

The Holiday Cocoa Cruise is a festive and enjoyable experience that offers a delightful combination of scenic views and warm, delicious cocoa.

10. Digital Photography: An Introduction

Enhance the experience of those who have recently embraced the world of DSLRs by gifting them a series of captivating photography lessons. Embark on this journey with the enthralling three-hour introductory session offered by the esteemed Art of Intuitive Photography. Here, a seasoned instructor will delve into the intricacies of exposure, white balance, and depth of field, unraveling the enigma of the bewildering array of buttons and modes that accompany this marvelous device.

$150 per individual

11. Trapeze Lessons

Experience the exhilaration of flight! Immerse yourself in the sensation of gracefully gliding through the air as you embark on a thrilling flying trapeze lesson. For a captivating hour and a half, an expert instructor will guide a small group of ten individuals on the art of gripping the bar with your legs, letting go of your arms, and soaring across the vast expanse towards a skilled catcher. Seize this extraordinary opportunity to fulfill your childhood fantasy of joining the circus and run away with the magic of the trapeze!

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From $65.

Trapeze Lessons are a thrilling and adventurous activity that allows individuals to learn and master the art of aerial acrobatics, defying gravity while swinging through the air with grace and skill. With experienced instructors and specialized equipment, participants can safely experience the excitement and beauty of this circus-inspired discipline. Whether you are a beginner looking to explore a new hobby or an experienced performer honing your skills, trapeze lessons offer a unique and exhilarating experience for all.

12. Salt Cave Sessions at Montauk Salt Cave

We all have that one friend who thrives on caffeine and boundless energy. And we also know that friend who strongly believes in the mystical properties of crystals, salt lamps, and burning sage. Give either (or both!) Of them the opportunity to unwind with a 45-minute experience inside the Montauk Salt Cave located in the vibrant East Village. The walls of this cave are adorned with Himalayan pink salt, which is said to possess anti-inflammatory properties that can potentially heal respiratory ailments and alleviate anxiety. Regardless of the scientific validity of these claims, it serves as a perfect excuse to disconnect from the world and indulge in a blissful hour of relaxation with your eyes gently shut.

Beginning at $20

Montauk Salt Cave offers Salt Cave Sessions, which provide a unique and rejuvenating experience. These sessions involve relaxing in a cave filled with therapeutic salt, known for its numerous health benefits such as improving respiratory conditions and promoting relaxation.

13. New York Beer and Brewery Tour

Indulge in the opportunity to savor the brews of three remarkable breweries nestled within the vibrant streets of New York City. Embark on an intriguing tasting expedition across three boroughs, dedicated to unearthing the epitome of artisanal beer in the metropolis. This captivating journey will encompass visits to iconic establishments such as McSorley’s Old Ale House, The Brooklyn Brewery, Transmitter Brewing, and That Witch Ales You Brewery. Immerse yourself in a 5-hour escapade, where tickets grant you access to an abundance of libations, delectable bites, and convenient transportation throughout the day.

$125 per individual

The New York Beer and Brewery Tour offers an immersive experience, taking visitors on a journey through the city's rich brewing history, showcasing unique breweries, and providing a taste of the vibrant craft beer scene.

14. One-on-One Makeup Class

Do you happen to know an aspiring makeup magician? Treat her to an exclusive and guided session that will elevate her skills to new heights. With over a decade of industry expertise, the instructor, Shara Strand, possesses a wealth of trade secrets, ranging from fundamental contouring techniques to the art of perfecting a radiant strobing effect. Furthermore, during this one-hour class, your best friend will have the opportunity to acquire any of the marvelous brushes, kits, and skincare products showcased throughout.

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From $20.

Our One-on-One Makeup Class offers personalized instruction and guidance, allowing you to learn and perfect your makeup skills under the expert guidance of our experienced makeup artists.

15. New Year’s Eve Dinner Cruise

Grab a hold of the most enchanting and captivating seats in the entire city for you and your beloved on the magical night of New Year’s Eve. Embark on a five-hour cruise filled with endless delights, including an open bar, delectable hors d’oeuvres, and an exquisite buffet-style dinner. As you dance the night away, revel in the anticipation of the upcoming year. On the deck of the ship, in the heart of New York Harbor, witness the mesmerizing spectacle of fireworks illuminating the starry skyline as the clock strikes midnight. This extraordinary experience will leave an indelible mark on your memory, forever etching a cherished moment in time.

From $250.

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